Wednesday 26 April 2017

Crystal Palace v Watford - Story of the match

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha impressed in the win over Watford
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha impressed in the win over Watford

Crystal Palace moved closer to preserving their Premier League status by earning their third successive victory with 1-0 home win over Watford.

Troy Deeney's second-half own goal proved enough to secure all three points in an otherwise cagey affair that moved Palace four clear of the bottom three.

Tweet of the match: "We'll take it... [1-0] #CRYWAT" - Palace's official Twitter account celebrates Watford's Deeney giving them the lead.

Star man: Wilfried Zaha. The Palace winger has often provided their only source of inspiration in what has so far been a season of struggle. Even after a third successive victory, he remained their greatest attacking threat and stretched Watford more than any of his team-mates, which counts for much when Christian Benteke was again disappointing. One who seems far from cowed by the pressure of a relegation battle.

Moan of the match: The threat of Watford being relegated is minimal, and a top-10 finish was not beyond their reach, so quite why they played with so little desire at a team that has struggled so much at home this season remains a mystery. This was an uneventful game, but that suited Palace. Watford did little to deserve more than the defeat they received.

View from the bench: Sam Allardyce has led Palace to three straight wins just in time, given their next four opponents are Chelsea, Southampton, Arsenal and Leicester. Those nine points have given Palace some breathing space above the bottom three, and crucially some momentum. It is vital he ensures they do not forget the progress they have been making if results are less positive in the coming weeks, because they could soon again look in far greater danger.

Walter Mazzarri's Watford look like they are just waiting for the season to end. Motivation can be very difficult to recover once lost and, in a season where it is beginning to appear the points total required for survival will be higher than usual, the Italian manager needs to ensure they avoid another damaging run like that which left them in trouble during January.

Ratings:

Crystal Palace

Wayne Hennessey: 7/10

Joel Ward: 7

James Tomkins: 7

Mamadou Sakho: 7

Jeffrey Schlupp: 7

Luka Milivojevic: 7

Yohan Cabaye: 8

Jason Puncheon: 6

Wilfried Zaha: 8

Andros Townsend: 7

Christian Benteke: 6

Subs

Scott Dann (for Tomkins, 83mins): 6

Bakary Sako (for Cabaye, 87mins): 5

Damien Delaney (for Townsend, 87mins): 5

Watford

Heurelho Gomes: 7

Younes Kaboul: 6

Sebastian Prodl: 6

Miguel Britos: 6

Craig Cathcart: 7

Daryl Janmaat: 7

Valon Behrami: 7

Etienne Capoue: 7

Tom Cleverley: 6

M'baye Niang: 5

Troy Deeney: 5

Subs

Abdoulaye Doucoure (for Behrami, HT): 6

Nordin Amrabat (for Janmaat, 63mins): 5

Isaac Success (for Cleverley, 80mins): 5

Who's up next?

Chelsea v Crystal Palace, Premier League, April 1

Watford v Sunderland, Premier League, April 1

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